• May 4, 2015
  • 59

20 years of Polish Art Gallery ‘Znad Willi’

20 years ago, on 3 May 1995, Polish Art Gallery ‘Znad Willi’ was opened in Vilnius old town. Through two decades over 400 exhibitions took place in Vilnius, and dozens abroad, presenting works of significant in Lithuania artists of Polish descent, as well as those of other nationalities and chief Lithuanian artists. PAG ‘Znad Willi’ is not an ordinary gallery, it is foremost a meeting place of creative people: artists, poets, journalists, scientists and art connoisseurs. It is simply one of important Polish places on the map of Vilnius.

PAG ‘Znad Willi’ is a one of a kind institution on the territory of the former Soviet Union, and probably one of the few Polish institutions of its kind in the world. Initiators and founders of the gallery were Wanda and Romuald Mieczkowski. 20 years ago, during the first group exhibition in the newly opened gallery, they presented works of Vilnius artist of Polish descent: Andrzej Bałachowicz, Marcin Czechun, Regina Filipowicz, Ryszard Filistowicz, Piotr Ibiański, Dominika and Czesław Jachimowicz, Jan Jankowski, Stanisław Kaplewski, Władysław Ławrynowicz, Lilia Miłto, Henryk and Ludwik Natalewicz, Jarosław Rokicki, Tadeusz Romanowski, Czesław Połoński, Walentyna Skarżyńska, Wiktor Szocik and Irena Werweczko.

During the 20 years, the gallery gained recognition and renown, also on Lithuanian art scene. According to the polls, conducted by the Lithuanian Artists’ Association and professional magazines, ‘Znad Willi’ gallery still places in the Lithuanian top, receives awards, nominates its representatives to participate in international exhibitions organized by Lithuania. PAG ‘Znad Willi’, on multiple occasions, took part in Vilnius festival ‘Days of the Capital’. Every year organizers of ‘Days of the Capital’, by way of a contest, pick 10 galleries that may present themselves during this important for Vilnius event. ‘We exhibited paintings of Ludwik Natalewicz, Robert Bluj, Mirosław Bryżys, Jolanta Śnieżko (glass art), Iwona Torowin, Jolanta Teišerskytė-Stoškienė, Lionė Grigaliūnaitė, Aleksander Guszczenko, Romualdas Stasiulis, Eduardas Urbanavičius and Simonas Skrabulis. This year PAG, for the third time, qualified for International Modern Art Fair ART VILNIUS’15, where priorities are such criteria as professional operations of the gallery, quality of exhibition, works of the gallery’s artists in public and private collections, participations of the gallery in international artistic events, projects, fairs, exhibitions exchanges with other galleries in its country and abroad as well as publications of the gallery dedicated to artists and exhibitions, in addition to artistic value, originality and accordance with the goals of the project of the proposed exhibition’ – told ‘Wilnoteka’ founder and owner of the gallery Wanda Mieczkowska. Art fair ‘ART VILNIUS’15’ will take place in the days of 25-28 June.

PAG ‘Znad Wilii’ supports the art of the disabled people. ’We organize exhibitions of art by disabled people. It is a result of cooperation with Lithuanian Association of People with Spinal Injuries. We help promote artistic activity among disabled people, as a kind of very important rehabilitation, we make our exhibition space available for creative promotion of sometimes very interesting artists, who lack ability for more widespread presentation of their work’ – said Wanda Mieczkowska.

Polish Art Gallery ‘Znad Wilii’ can be easily called an ambassador of Lithuanian art, including artists of Polish descent. During 20 years many exhibitions were organized abroad. One of the examples is the Second World Meeting of Intellectuals, People of Culture and Art in Barcelona. That meeting – in collaboration with many Polish diaspora and Polish institutions – was organized by the Polish Diaspora Culture Research Institute in Munich. In the prestigious gallery Convent dels Angeles in Barcelona took place a painting exhibition tilted ‘Polish artist around the world’, which exhibited also the works from Lithuania, from PAG ‘Znad Willi’. Group exhibition ‘Znad Willi Artists’ have, for many years, ‘travelled’ round Poland. It visited over 20 cities already, from Gdansk through Warsaw, Rzeszow to Cracow. Works of Vilnius artists were presented in beautiful interiors: in castle and town hall halls, in galleries and offices of creative organizations.

The work of the gallery received scientific analysis. Ewa Wiłkość, student of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Eastern Institute, Eastern Studies, under the tutelage of professor Piotr Kraszewski, wrote and presented a thesis titled ‘Polish Gallery in Vilnius and its writing’. The thesis comprises five chapters, it was based on many source materials, both Polish and Lithuanian, includes illustrations, footnotes and an annex. It was the first attempt of its kind to characterize Polish artistic community in Lithuania and its artistic work.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary, PAG ‘Znad Willi’ invited its friends and enthusiasts for a birthday meeting.

Based on: own information.

Translated by Antonina Górka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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